a slap in the face

Given the general hoopla dedicated to the Vancouver Olympics, Part One, I had this stupid idea— that is, I assumed —Part Two, the Paralympics, might also get some attention.

Not that I expected it would get as much of course. Good lord no. Afterall I understand that it’s hard for small-minded marketers to find the same promotional ‘qualities’ in visually impaired, armless, or wheelchair bound athletes. (Though why that is, I can’t quite fathom. One would think—if one were thinking—that not only are these men and women of the Paralympics extraordinary athletes in top physical condition—moreso even than the Part One Olympians when you consider things like cross country skiing without poles or downhill without sight—but their clothing and equipment must also be absolutely top of the line.)

Seems to me lots of marketing opps missed here.

But then, could be we’re dealing with teeny, blinkered brains in the corporate and marketing arenas where sponsors prefer spokes-models of a certain size and limb count.

Small brains seem also to reign pretty mightily over at CTV where, I discovered I will NOT be able to watch the Paralympic opening ceremonies tonight. That’s right, the official Canadian broadcaster for the Vancouver Olympics feels that the latest episode of Medium, an American TV series, is more important.

The opening ceremonies are on TOMORROW (of course, what a great idea!) after the games have actually begun.

Well, here’s news for the CTV Einsteins who came up with that plan—I’m a funny person, I like to watch opening ceremonies at the OPENING. (FYI: that means BEFORE the event gets rolling.) I might be alone in this, I don’t know. 

What I do know is that it’s a huge oversight that the Paralympics are consistently treated like some second class show  but when the show is being held in our own country, you’d think we might just deem it worthy enough to treat it with a little more  respect and dignity. And maybe, therefore, allow ourselves to be more broadly introduced to this incredible event.

Of course that would require intelligence and a certain kind of balls that apparently don’t exist in the CTV boardrooms where this decision was made.

To say that not airing the opening ceremonies is a slap in the face, not only to the athletes, but to viewers eager to share in the excitement, is an understatement. I’m puzzled to say the least. Embarrassed because I thought we were better than that. And more than slightly disgusted.

I never thought I’d say this, but God bless the internet.

Fortunately Part Two of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics can be seen here, live. Including the opening ceremonies.

Generously sponsored by Visa and Samsung.

knee deep in coffee cups

Most days I take a walk through a ravine near my house. I go there with the intention of breathing deeply, letting my shoulders drop a little while I focus on the birds, the sometime deer or fox. More and more often, however, I find myself focussing instead on the ever increasing amount of debris along the way. Always a puzzling sight. Makes me wonder what sort of person, having decided to spend some time in the beauty and peace of nature, then decides to bung their garbage at it.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I’ve come to anticipate it; I keep my coat pockets stuffed with bags, hardly notice the birds some days.

And before anyone shrugs and says Ah, kids! What can you do? it’s not kids that are responsible for the majority of it. Most of the traffic is adults, lots of dog-walkers especially, and most of the debris these days, I’ve noticed, is take-out coffee cups.

Not that I’m saying anything.

Except this:

1) What is wrong with you People Who Can’t Take a Walk Without Coffee and Then Decide You Can’t Be Bothered Hanging on to the GD Empty Cup Until You Get to a Bin/Car/Home?


2) Tim Horton’s, Coffee Time, Second Cup, Starbucks (for starters): here’s an idea—how about spending a few cents on an anti-littering campaign or two? Not that the disgusting habits of the population are your fault, but much of the dreck all over our streets, peering at us from ditches, advertising the next sale—does have your name on it.

Surely you feel at least some responsibility to clean it up…

As must our governments.  Surely.

Maybe they’d all welcome letters chock full of ideas? Here’s one: maybe run a nationwide contest for ideas.

Whatever. The point is we can’t just keep throwing this stuff around. And no, it’s not a small thing in the face of larger problems. It’s about respect: for the earth, animals, neighbours, strangers. And that’s not insignificant because if we can’t respect what’s in our own tiny space, no wonder we have larger problems elsewhere.

So, short of putting garbage bins on every corner (though not a bad idea), we need to get creative in changing the way we think.

One of the best anti-litter campaigns I’ve heard of hails from Texas where it seemed impossible to get the locals to stop littering until they were persuaded that it was not themselves, but the no-good, low-down, tourists and other out-of-state varmints (I may or may not be paraphrasing), that were the problem. The move not only convinced many locals to stop littering (not wanting to be put on the same level as tourists) but also increased a sense of ownership and pride in their surroundings. And it’s still going strong.

Doesn’t it just warm the heart to see the power of marketing—the power of anything—put to good use?  There is hope.